Five top tips on writing for the theatre
- Plays take a long time to reach the stage, usually at least two years. so avoid being too topical. e.g. many writers will be using the 2012 Olympics as the base of a drama, so maybe avoid that one. Present your play professionally. Most managements have a panel of readers and nobody feels well disposed towards the grimy script with the coffee stains on it. Number the pages and staple or bind them. And be sure to list your contact details.
- When you write your play, be mindful about the size of the cast. Everybody has to be paid for rehearsal and performances, so each character should be essential to the plot. A small cast will increase your chances of placing your play.
- Investigate your sources. There is little point on sending a 40 minute one act to a management famous for staging West End extravaganzas. Attend theatres whenever you can. And check on the web to see who has produced what.
- be patient. Remember that new work is the life blood of producers. So far from wanting to block you, they are but always hoping to discover new talent. Take rejections in your stride and move on. If your work is original and has merit, you will get there eventually.
- It’s hard to get an agent at first. But when you get one, don’t just sit back expecting things to happen. Consult your agent often, offer suggestions and ask for feedback. And take your agent’s advice about revising your work. You have to – because an agent cannot feign enthusiasm about a play he thinks needs fixing.
Geraldine Arons is an award-winning Irish playwright. Her plays show worldwide to great acclaim and 12 have been performed on TV or radio.